Share Your Stories

Since 1920, Vanguard University has thrived as a flagship Pentecostal University in Southern California. Each student, alum, faculty, and staff member is a part of that legacy and story.

Do you have a Vanguard University story you want to share? Tell us a story that captures your Vanguard experience. It could be inspirational, humorous or life changing, you decide!


14 Comments to "Share Your Stories"

  1. Unknown

    February 4, 2011

    From the time I stepped onto the Vanguard University campus, I instantly knew it was a special place! The vibrant student life, the very invested faculty, the engaging staff–it’s an outstanding community in the heart of Orange County. Our family always looks forward to Christmas Fantasia, Theatre productions, and Athletics games. Congrats on celebrating 90 years, VU!

  2. Anonymous

    February 4, 2011

    The thing I remember most of Vanguard will always be the guitar ensemble in Christmas Fantasia each year. Definitely the kickoff to my xmas season for the past few years.

  3. Kristine Fray

    February 4, 2011

    My story is entitled KISS (Keeping It Short & Sweet). Vanguard University is Heaven on Earth to me, because my whole family and myself have the priviledge of attending school here. We see eachother often and are having the opportunity to learn and grow in Christ and academics together; sharing so many of God’s blessings on a daily basis.

  4. Jaimie (West) Bowman

    February 7, 2011

    The relationships that I made at Vanguard are the most important thing that I took away from my time there. My education was also invaluable, but the friendships with faculty, staff and other students changed my life. It has been almost 13 years since I graduated and I still think of my time at Vanguard almost daily. I met my mentors there, my best friends, and best of all, my husband. My relationship with God was positively impacted by every chapel service, every prayer & praise, every late night conversation about faith, and even our times in the dorms. I cannot thank Vanguard enough for the gifts I received there; they were some of the best years of my life!

  5. Danielle (Fuson) Porcho

    February 17, 2011

    Oh Vanguard how I do miss thee! Vanguard University was my life for 7 years. My undergradutate and graduate experiences were incredible. My undergraduate life was full of concerts, friends, and incredible faculty. I will never forget all of the places I traveled with concert orchestra, string quartet, Vanguard Singers and Band, and Women’s Chorus. I miss those days of summer music camp, Christmas Fantasia, and spring break concert trips. I truly miss all my music buddies, Dr. Wong, and Dr. Melton. For my graduate studies, I was surrounded by the most outstanding instructors. Dr. Grove was so patient and understanding through my master’s thesis, and even though I never had Dr. Mikki Gil, she was always there for me. However, my biggest cheerleader was Dr. Sandra Ruppert (aka “my hero”). She is the most incredible influence in my personal and professional life. I still update her on my life and career, and she is still there to listen and give advice. Forever Vanguard will be a memory that is precious and everlasting. GO LIONS!

  6. Jonathan Harshman

    February 17, 2011

    Wow my Vanguard experience so much has and is still happening because of it. I was able to go to China on a missions trip after my sophmore year at Vanguard. In that trip we went and taught english to students there in Hanzong. That trip confirmed to me that I was called to teaching music as my profession. At my time at Vanguard I have grown from a young boy who didn’t really have the most confidence in who I was as a person to being very confident and know that with God as my guide I can do anything. Because of the friends not only amongst my peers but the friends I made in the teaching staff with the Vanguard Music Department as well. I am deeply indebted to them. Thank God for Vanguard!!!

  7. Shree Carter

    February 18, 2011

    My parents had told me that they would be okay with me attending a state school, but I think that they were praying that I would consider applying to a faith based institution and preferably one within the AG denomination. As I walked the quiet campus on the day after Christmas in 1985, I felt at home and immediately knew that 55 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa is where I needed to be. Upon returning to Wyoming, I completed my application for admissions and by January 11th I had received an acceptance letter from my admissions counselor. That August I arrived in Southern California and visited the campus with my family as preparations were being made to welcome the new students. I finally had the opportunity to meet my admissions counselor, and for those who were fortunate enough to have Virgil Zeigler as their counselor know well that he is someone who cared deeply for each of the students assigned to him and he along with his wife Donna prayed for us daily while we were here at Vanguard.

    Looking back over my 25 years of being connected to Vanguard, my time here as an UG and Grad Student better prepared me to return to campus as a staff member with the tools needed to invest in the next generation of students. Looking forward to our centennial celebration in 2020, what part of Vanguard’s legacy do I want students to know about when they consider changing their residential address to 55 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa, California? Here are some thoughts:

    ~ Vanguard is still a place where people know you by name, not by ID number.
    ~ The Administration, Faculty, and Staff really do want to remove barriers so that students are given every opportunity to succeed and accomplish their dreams/calling.
    ~ If students apply themselves in the classroom, they will be better prepared to enter the workplace, go in to full-time ministry, go on to graduate school, or start their own non-profit organization.
    ~ Vanguard is still a leader in how we prepare chaplains to serve men and women in the armed forces, as well as providing a Veteran’s Center with resources to better assist men and women who have completed their military career as they transition back into society and want to achieve their educational goals.
    ~ The best “show” in town is still produced by our own Theatre Department.
    ~ All Vanguard students know that if you want to see a good game, go to “The Pit” or the Athletic Fields and support our scholar athletes.

    and finally…
    ~ Who needs Starbucks when you can find great conversation, real coffee, and chocolate on the second floor of Smith Hall?

    Thank you Vanguard for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of your legacy for future generations!

  8. Sharon Smith Saalinger "Smitty"

    February 24, 2011

    I’m an oldie when it comes to stories. We were still Southern California Bible College when I first attended and then we became Southern California College and I was already gone when we became VUSC. I’m in the Decade of the ’60s bunch and I can tell you, my years on campus were some of the best of my life. The friendships that have endured through the years is one of my greatest blessings. We were still a very small school when I was there so we were like a big family. I didn’t hang in and get a degree but I can tell you that what I gained spiritually, socially and yes, educationally has carried me through life with great joy when I think of my college days. I so look forward to July 2011 when many of my friends from the ’60s will again be on campus for a Decade of the ’60s Reunion. Oh we have memories alright. We didn’t have the good food you have now. Our dorms were the old army barricks! We could not wear pants on campus…coats over them even when it was hot to wear them off campus. Yes, it was very strict BUT I wouldn’t trade any of that because it made us the people we are today. I will always have a soft place in my heart for SCBC, SCC, VU. Thanks for the memories.

  9. Deanna

    February 26, 2011

    Just over twenty years ago, Vanguard was a street name and a mascot, not a university. My SCC is a snapshot in time–a fleeting recollection of dedicated, caring and wise mentors. Dr. Dennis McNutt, Dr. Vince Gil, Dr. John Wilson and Barbi Rouse taught me how to find my voice in this world. They instilled in me a keen ability to detect subtleties of injustice in our culture and challenged me to rise to a level of intellectual and academic learning to which I had no idea I could achieve.

    I am forever grateful for Dr. Jerry Camery-Hoggat for his genuine, personal and soul-wrenching stories of pain and struggle to accept the grace of God for which no human act can add to and how we do not have to become well before being given grace. He may not know, but I remember vividly the sunny, early Fall afternoons of listening his story craft, and when I became aware of the first time I was in a severe, clinical depression, it was his stories that helped me accept the grace of God in that moment, even as a person whose brain doesn’t always do what it should in terms of processing emotion. Thank you, Jerry.

    Yet a significant part of my connection to SCC was learning to find people, not simply “Christians,” who did not have the pretense of holiness, righteousness and standing in constant judgment of those who did not share the exact same views and opinions. From my painful trials with fellow students and some faculty who were incredibly arrogant, I learned a life lesson of how to embrace the humanity in all its brokenness and mistakes of the people I work with, the students I teach and those who are in my life. But, make no mistake, hundreds of others whose names have slipped into my faded memories also supported me with their encouragement during my time at SCC.

    The challenge of Vanguard is true relevance with humility to our world as it is, not how we think it should be balanced by the transformational power of God’s grace and healing.

  10. Dustin Guerra

    February 28, 2011

    I can’t think of Vanguard without thinking of my dad.

    My dad loved the school and told everyone he could about it. He met my mom at and most of his best friends at Southern California College. Growing up, my dad would regularly bring my brothers and me to visit the school, and give us his tour of Costa Mesa and the surrounding cities. He promoted the school to friends, youth he worked with at church, and with family. He invited the SCC soccer team to come do soccer camps with our AYSO soccer teams and we were always traveling down to watch the sporting events. When my two brothers went off to college at SCC, my dad would pick me up at school and head down to take my brothers out to dinner. My mom often tagged along on these trips, but sometimes, if she was busy as church, my dad would just go with me, meet my brother’s friends, take them out to the dinner too. Afterwards, he wander around the campus admiring the changes, reminiscing of past glories, and telling his crazy adventures. He boasted how had helped bring the gym from OCC, how he was the center on the football team, and how he once drove down rabbits in the fields behind the school. I grow up with his wild stories of exploding balsa wood planes on a cloudy morning, of countless hazings with friends, and endless practical jokes. The best friends he met at SCC were his lifetime pals and when they would get together, they would share a life time of stories retelling of ages past. Everywhere he went, SCC was on his mind. He loved the school and probably hailed his years at SCC has some of the best of his life before he met my mom.

    As of now, my dad’s three boys have attended there. His oldest son is now a full-time faculty member and I am an adjunct for the SPS program. His middle son and his wife are proud alumni who still promote the school among friends, family, and future college students. Our family regularly attends plays and sporting events at my dad’s favorite school. SCC, now Vanguard, is not simply an institution, but a nutrient in the blood in our family, and much of that came from my father. Pat Guerra loved SCC for all the fun, adventures, memories, and family ties he had with this college. And yet, the most importantly reason my dad loved and promoted Vanguard, his alma mater, was because of the institution’s uncompromising, undying, and aggressive love and passion for the God his message of salvation through our Lord, Jesus the Christ. Thank you Vanguard for being such a tremendous blessing to our family, and may you always remember your devotion to the Lord.

  11. Oscar A. Erickson

    May 2, 2011

    I give God and SCC-VUSC credit for success in my life. Praise Him and thank you VUSC! “Erick” – Oscar A. Erickson 1963

  12. Oscar A. Erickson

    May 3, 2011

    Remembering Jack C. Nelson who recommended VUSC (SCC 1960) to my Mother Edith G. B. Ericskon for me Oscar A. Erickson Jr. to attend. Upon attending meeting great people as Prof. J. C. Holsinger, his wife Adena and daughter Cori, Professors Carlson, Hoy, Paul and Edith Johnson, M. Bell, the Prices, O. Cope Budge and the Balliets was inspiring. Although a non-graduate, I credit God and VUSC as helping me succeed in the military and medical fields. I light a candle. Congratulations VUSC on your 90th Anniversary! I had a lot of great moments while attending in the 60s. Oscar A. Erickson, Hae Graphae Editor and Co-Editor

  13. Oscar A. Erickson

    May 3, 2011


  14. Oscar A. Erickson

    May 3, 2011

    There were few of us in the 1960s. Our generation was refered to as “war babies”, pre-baby boomers. Many of us are not famous but hopefully many of us inspired and were “stepping stones” as it were to the next up and coming generations of students and graduates living thier lives for Christ.


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